Archive for February, 2016


I am coming up on a big anniversary soon, the first anniversary of my Baptism into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (AKA the LDS church or the Mormon Church). I have written about my conversion here and my baptism as well, but I wanted to share more of the moments that helped build my testimony as I approach that anniversary. This weekend a year ago I attended my first service at the church and because I wanted to really see if this conversion was the right fit for me I decided to go the weekend without drinking coffee to live in line with the Word of Wisdom. When I decided to stop drinking coffee I was not sure I would make it one day, I used to drink over 12 cups of extra strong coffee a day at home and stopped by coffee shops regularly. When my friends starting teasing me that I could not survive without my coffee it brought out my stubborn side and I wanted to see just how long I could go without coffee. Meanwhile, the Spirit was working on me and I soon found I did not need the stubbornness, I didn’t even miss my coffee- I had found something so much better.

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Around this same time I began my first reading of the Book of Mormon and our oldest, Damien, really wanted a copy of the book himself. The Elders I was working with were more than happy to give him one, and Damien was in love with it! He carried his Book of Mormon everywhere, even while playing with other toys. He was so inspired by his book that he greeted almost everyone with an exclamation of, “Hey Girl, want to read my Book of Morma?” Whether or not the person was a girl had little bearing on his excitement to share what he was learning about the gospel right alongside me.

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As for me, I could not wait to begin reading as soon as the Elders gave me a copy of the Book of Mormon. I began reading from the beginning as well as reading any scriptures specifically suggested by the missionaries. From the first day of reading, the Book of Mormon changed my life, I found a sense of peace and clarity while reading that I had not felt before. I was impressed with the Book of Mormon but I was at first still looking for a reason to not accept the gospel, I was not sure if I was ready for such a drastic change in my life. Like many investigators I was actively looking for the thing I could point to say “No, this is crazy and I cannot join this church”. To that end I combed the scriptures pulling out passages that concerned me and quizzed the Elders on them, without fail they were able to provide additional scripture references to help me better understand what I was reading and every concern I raised was soothed by the power of truth found within the Book of Mormon.

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One thing I was struggling to accept as an investigator, was the concept of a living Prophet. Not being raised within the church when one who has been raised in the world hears the word Prophet they do not have a good image, it comes off kind of hokey. One night while reading the Book of Mormon I came across a scripture that completely changed my outlook. In 1 Nephi 10:18 it says:

“For he is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world, if it so be that they repent and come unto him.”

Reading that it occurred to me that I have never questioned that men like Moses were Prophets and if God really is unchanging, as I have always believed and was proven in scripture, why would I believe he provided Prophets in the past and would not give the people of today the same blessing of having a living Prophet? This was a game changing moment in my conversion and that moment would not have come without the Book of Mormon and the encouragement from the Elders to keep searching and keep reading.

Taking Charge

As many of you know, I was diagnosed with PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome back in 2010. PCOS is one of the leading causes of infertility today and that is what most people focus on, myself included. However, PCOS is a lot more than a fertility issues. PCOS wrecks havoc on your entire body causing irregular and painful periods, infertility, and weight gain. PCOS also dramatically increases you chances of developing: female baldness, unusual hair growth in women, diabetes, heart diseases and various cancers. 

This past summer we went through a very scary time as a family. My periods were very irregular and frequent and when I went to my gynecologist she was very concerned and said she wanted to run some tests to see if my PCOS ravaged hormones were out of whack or to check and see if I had endometrial cancer. My world stopped at mention of that “C” word. I knew my PCOS increased my chances of developing cancer so I was very worried that we would be dealing with cancer. I called my Mom shortly after the appointment to tell her what was going on and for her to talk me down off the ceiling. If I let myself think about it too much I started crying- I have five young children who need their mom and they need her to be healthy enough to care for them. My mom and I discussed the idea of just having a complete hysterectomy regardless of the results, better safe than sorry thinking. In retrospect,  that would have been a knee jerk, fear based reaction. In the end I did not have cancer, I just needed to adjust my medication. This was a wake up call for me though. I have basically been pouting since I was diagnosed in 2010. I knew what I should be doing to help my body but I was annoyed with my body and pulled a complete ostrich move and stuck my head in the sand ignoring all but the infertility. 

The easiest way for doctors to manage PCOS symptoms in their paitents is to put them on birth control. That often controls the visible symptoms of PCOS however, PCOS is still able to run around the body and stir up trouble. I am unwilling to go on birth control for a variety of reasons, to include that we haven’t given up hope that we will one day have a child biologically. That leaves natural ways to manage this monsters. 

The diet one should ideally follow while on PCOS can get very regimented, if you let it, and that has often turned me off. It seems like too much effort and time on just me to spend. I realize that thinking is illogical but there it is. I have attempted to follow the PCOS diet MANY times in the past but I always get discouraged and quit. 

I have always been an all or nothing type of person, stems from being a perfectionist. So my downfall with taking care of myself better has been I want to follow any diet exactly or not at all, I want to work out and have my body do exactly what my brain says I should do and do it perfectly or I won’t do it at all. I should remember to take all my medicines and supplements or I shouldn’t take any. You can see how quickly this can get out of hand. For instance when we grew from a family of no kids to five kids and I couldn’t keep the house the way I thought it should look I just stopped trying for awhile. It’s a pride issue and I’m working on. Being a perfectionist is exhausting, especially when I would never hold another to the same expectations I place on myself. 

So now I know what I need to be doing, I got a push from the cancer scare to actually do it and I know why I have failed in the past. Now all I need is a plan to succeed. They say making detailed plans is the best way to reach any goal. 

The Plan

PCOS is a whole body, mind, heart attack so that is what I need to incorporate in any plans to beat it and I should make small changes at a time instead of trying to change everything at once. 

My goal is by July to be fully following the PCOS diet, taking all of my medications and supplements regularly and to do some form of exercise 5-6 days a week to include becoming a regular runner. How will I get there? By adding new aspects of the diet and working out every month so that it builds. 

The rest of this month will be about general prep

March-  I will start PiYO from Beachbody and walk at least a half an hour five days a week. I will also start eating something every 3-4 hours, eliminate salt (not hard since I rarely use it now), and dramatically increase how much water I drink. 

April- I will continue the work out plan and I will continue the diet changes from before while also beginning to eat mainly whole foods and having a good/lean protein at every meal.

May- I will be adding Turbo Fire also from Beachbody to my routine and will step up the walking to begin a walk/run combination. I will continue all dietary changes while I also begin to eliminate sugar and follow a low GI diet. 

June- I will continue the work out plans from May and increase the run to walk ratio. I will continue dietary changes while increasing my omega 3 intake, antioxidants and photoestrogens. 

A few small changes a month and I will be  able to more easily and lastingly make these changes. 

Old Fashioned

I think I was around nine or ten years old, the first time I remember one of my Grandmothers calling me a “little Grandma” and an “old lady”. I have always been a bit too old fashioned for our times. Now, thanks to hipsters many of the things I have always loved are cool again. You can find countless hipsters wearing aprons, knitting, sewing their own clothes and espousing love for the “golden oldies”. All things I have loved since I was a child. I remember countless evenings spent watching “I Love Lucy” and thinking that Lucy was exactly who I wanted to grow up to be .

I have been feeling a little lost lately and I realized it was all stemming from this (mean) voice in my head telling me that it wasn’t enough to be a wife and mother,  even though it was all I ever dreamed of being. I realized an easy solution to feeling so lost and a good way to shush that voice was to just lean into it, lean into being a housewife and a mother, lean in to my old fashioned dreams and ideals.

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This brought me to looking up lots of different things about the quintessential 1950’s housewife. I then stumbled on Jen But Never Jenn’s 50’s Housewife Experiement and I was intrigued. I loved the idea, so much fun and right in my wheelhouse. I excitedly told Tyler all about it and he looked at me like I had lost my mind, he has never gotten my love of the old days and he thinks me trying to live up to the expectations of a 50’s housewife is “Unnecessary”.  He is missing the fun, with his silly love of all things modern.

I have already started some of the aspects of the experiment as part of my leaning in process. I have been getting up earlier than the kids and my husband to get myself dressed (and I have been dressing up) for the day. Sometimes that means getting up at 4 am but by the time everyone else is getting up I am in the kitchen, dressed and apron on, ready to tackle the day. I cannot tell you the difference in my daily adventures and mood this one small change has made. Dressing up is always a mood lifter and being prepared to tackle the day before the kids are up makes me much less stressed. I have time in the morning to read some scripture, pray, collect myself and plan out the day.

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So far I am only adding in  a few parts of the experiment but I think I want to do the whole thing soon. Now I just need to find more 50’s inspire dresses. Now Jen goes as far as only serving meals common for the times and only uses the tools of the 1950’s housewife would have access too. I doubt I will be going that far, one I have too many children to take away the conveniences that save my sanity and my husband would absolutely hate the meals.

If anyone needs me I am going to be cleaning things, focusing on my family and leaning in some more. So far it has been great.

Sundays have been such a challenge for us in the last few months. For a variety of reason, I have ended most Sundays in tears for one reason or another.

To begin with; Caleb has been really struggling with being at church. Something was setting our sensory boy off about church and he would spend 99% of our time there having a complete sensory meltdown in the halls- which often included lots of screaming, hitting, and flailing in my arms. Basically every Sunday Caleb and I both cried in the halls of church. Him because he was feeling overwhelmed by something he couldn’t communicate to me and me because I was feeling like a bad Mom because I couldn’t figure it out and because I felt alone there in that place trying to help our son. I felt like Sundays involved Caleb and I battling something I couldn’t see or feel so I didn’t know how to help him. We have involved all of Caleb’s therapist in trying to solve this puzzle. Caleb’s behavior was stumping us all and one of his therapist even came to church with me and the kids to try and figure it out.

Added to that dynamic is that I am still not a pro at going places with all five kids by myself. When people typically have kids they do it one at a time with at least a nine month period in between to help them adjust to each new addition- we went from zero to five in less than two years. No adjustment time and with the exception of Caleb and Baby Otter the kids came in multiples. We are coming up on a year of being a family with five children all four and under and I am really just starting to get my footing. So taking the kids to church by myself (because my husband does not attend) is very stressful for me. I would see other large families who had their children all sitting calmly, or at least calmer than one screaming in the halls and four other kids that still need some help, and I would feel like I must be doing something wrong. It seemed like it was just too hard. 

The final stress of our Sundays lately has been the insane number of things that has happened to our family in the last few months- multiple surgeries, injuries and kids who were sick for about two and half months straight. So we missed far more Sundays than I am ok with- so while I was trying to hold it all together in the middle of that storm if we missed church that week there were tears then too because I felt I was failing my kids.

It has been a crazy adventure lately. However, this last week was amazing. In speaking with Caleb’s therapists we decided that Caleb just cannot handle a three hour time at church right now. Not until he can communicate better and we can figure out what is setting him off or at least what helps make it better. We even figured out a way to make that work. Tyler will come with the kids and I to the first hour of church, the Sacrament meeting, and then he will take Caleb home while the other kids and I stay at church. Yay for a solution!

Unfortunately, Tyler had a medical procedure done Friday and was not up for coming this week. I decided to take the kids and leave after the first hour, when a dear friend volunteered to drive the big boys home allowing them to stay for Primary. I woke up with a different mind set than I had in the weeks prior. I was not filled with a sense of dread, instead I was confident that it would all go well. I knew that my kids would still not all sit calmly in a pew and I also knew that Caleb might have some moments he struggled but I was sure we could navigate it. The kids and I went to the Relief Society room so that the youngest three (2, 2 in 6 days, and 10 months) could move around a little more and not fuss because they felt stuck. Caleb does better there than he ever does in the chapel. Everything went great! I mean the younger kids were running around like little terrors but they were not crying and the big boys sat fairly quietly. I realized the key to a calmer Sunday is for me to keep things easier for Caleb by letting him leave after an hour and to realize a successful day at church for us will look different in reality right now than it did in my head. Managing realistic expectations and realizing success to us will look different than success to other families is the secret. I am so proud of all five of my little miracles.

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For more information about sensory processing disorders visit The Sensory Processing Disorder Parent Support website.